Face the Nation

Face the Nation
July 12 – September 21, 2008

What role did typefaces play in the modernist milieu of Weimar Germany, or under the Nazi Third Reich? How did a new type design support Ireland’s independence from Britain? What did aspirational names like “Futura” and “Univers” mean? Discover “the last great era of metal type” at Face The Nation, on display at Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Co-presented by MCBA and the University of St. Thomas, this historical exhibition investigates how the desire to reinforce, redefine or transcend national identities shaped the design of typefaces between 1900 and 1960, an era of two world wars and unprecedented cultural transition. The exhibition includes a number of case studies, showing original printed examples, historical curiosities and objects from the printing trade.

View a sampling of images from this exhibition. Refresh the page for another sampling, or visit MCBA on Flickr to view the full album.


Two coordinating exhibitions feature the work of two contemporary designers, Romäno Hanni (Switzerland) and Erik Brandt (U.S), who explore typography in contemporary graphic design and new challenges in designing for global markets and cross-cultural messaging. Alongside the exhibitions, MCBA and University of St. Thomas will be hosting a number of presentations, workshops, panel discussions and even a film screening to provide multiple opportunities for the public to engage these topics.

An integral component of the exhibition is the Face The Nation website, which will include additional historical insights on the featured case studies, photographs of the exhibit, and a series of audio guides, which you can download to an MP3 player and use in the gallery for a virtual guided tour.

Face The Nation is presented by MCBA and the University of St. Thomas, curated by art history professor Dr. Craig Eliason.